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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by Akademie Verlag August 13, 2016

Tableau économique in the France of Louis XV: The Invention of Economics as a Science

Jean Cartelier


The way societies conceive of themselves is an essential part of their nature. The belief that societies are mainly ruled by economic laws is part of the myth of our modern societies. That myth is disguised under the name of science. In this view, the proclamation of economics as a science is an important and even crucial event for our modern society. This took place in France, namely with the elaboration of the Tableau économique. The following questions are addressed in this article: What are the intellectual and political circumstances which made the invention of the Tableau possible? Do they account at least partially for its content? How far does the Tableau support the basic propositions of Quesnay and the economic policy he advocates? Some tentative answers are suggested: Social science and politics are closely intertwined as a comparison between the Tableau and the Traité de la monarchie reveals; Its analytical expression is Quesnay’s theory of production and circulation which dramatically changes the way political problems are settled; However Quesnay’s political aspirations are betrayed by his Tableau as an internal critique of it shows.

Online erschienen: 2016-8-13
Erschienen im Druck: 2009-6-1

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